Last night Kate came to me as I sit and watched TV on my iPad. She sat down and stroked the puppy for a few moments and then said " If you could go back in time would you still of adopted all three of us?"
I tried not to gasp.
I tried not to let the tears start and say no I would not.
Instead I explained that I could not go back and change what had happened and so that was an impossible question for me to answer because I would loved her and would be sad if she was not in my life.
But if I was not here I would not of been hurt by my brothers.
Her life would be so different.
The weight of that statement takes my breath away as I type it. The guilt and shame that I so often feel for choosing to adopt again, for searching for a child who we could call ours when we already had two is something I will forever wonder about. But those thoughts only happen in my head.
Instead, I talked with her for close to an hour about what had happened. About what I thought about our broken world and I how I felt about her brothers who had both been offered and accepted plea deals. About how Kevin might hurt other people about how what he had done to Randall was horrific.
I talked about how my eyes did not see what happened. About how professionals in our lives made so many mistakes. About how I did not know then what I know now and how much I wish that this was not the path that we were on.
I apologized for not keeping her safe. Again and again she was hurt and I did not know.
She told us but we did not listen. I believed my son and did not believe the small girl, who I had only just gotten to know. When she said she was lying and that she had made it up we moved on and I thought I was so careful. I trusted Kevin. I never should have trusted Kevin.
She was not lying, not at 6 and not at 12.
And today the weight of that conversation from last night is heavy. In the midst of all of this chaos in the world as COVID creates so many problems I have a child who wishes we were not her family because then her life would have been so much better.
That makes me sad for me and for her because most days I feel like the only thing keeping me here is her. The thought that leaving would mean that she was alone and that would not be something she would ever recover from.